Local tech startups need to look beyond Hong Kong, said Shylesh Karuvath, co-founder and CEO of Cenique Infotainment--winner of the Best Business (Product) Bronze Award at the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2013.
CWHK: When did you found the company? Why the name?
Shylesh Karuvath: In April 2012, two of us founded Cenique Infotainment. Cenique means cinema and digital entertainment. Now we have 10 employees, and 7 of them are in R&D.
CWHK: Tell me more about your flagship product IntelliAd.
SK: IntelliAd is a digital signage offering that helps users launch intelligent targeted-advertising campaigns easily. Based on a computer vision platform, it automates real-time audience measurement for digital displays and billboards.
With a small, Android-based device connected to a screen, IntelliAd automatically detects human presence and how much time a person spends in watching an ad. In addition, it counts people, and can tell gender and age group.
It can also detect whether people look directly at a screen and facial expressions, such as smiling or blinking of eyes. Users can push different targeted ads based on the information collected and criteria created. For instance, an ad for a male-targeted product is pushed to the screen if a man is detected in front of it.
When the Android-based device is online, users will have real-time audience demographics data and analytics they need--including the top ads and top screens.
The cloud-based remote management capabilities we offer allow effective campaign management. For instance, you can specify when ads are displayed and for how long, the screen layout, and when the screens shut down. You can display various types of content--images, videos, Flash-based animation, and news-feeds.
CWHK: How much does it cost to use IntelliAd?
SK: A few hundred Hong Kong dollars per screen every month for basic audience tracking. We charge an extra amount for analytics reports.
CWHK: Who are your competitors? What's your differentiation?
SK: There are vendors from Europe and the US that provide audience tracking and demographics software products. But they are more expensive and require PCs to run--IntelliAd works on an Android-based device that only costs several thousand Hong Kong dollars. The other piece of equipment you need is a standard HD webcam.
CWHK: Who are your customers? Where are they from?
SK: Our customers include retailers, market research companies, advertising agencies, from different markets including China, France, Hong Kong, the Middle East, UK, US, and Russia. We also have some project-based businesses in India where we recently set up an office. I come from India and see opportunities that Cenique can explore.
CHHK: How much do you invest in R&D every year?
SK: A few million Hong Kong dollars annually.
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